Popular US Universities Accepting Applications Without ACT/SAT Scores


Subhashri Roy
Updated on Mar 06, 2023 04:40 PM IST

Top US universities that have gone test-optional for 2023-24 admissions include Harvard, Yale, Princeton, among others. Check out a comprehensive list of US universities that do not require ACT/SAT for the 2023-24 intakes.

Popular US Universities Accepting Applications Without ACT/SAT Scores

US Universities that do not require ACT/SAT scores have made the headlines over the past two years and even before the pandemic. However, when the pandemic began, the test-optional trend started gaining momentum. Top universities like Harvard recently made ACT/SAT optional until 2026 while Yale and Princeton announced to remain test-optional until 2023-24.

While some might say that going SAT/ACT optional takes away a lot of scholarship opportunities from meritorious international students, some also believe that it will now give international students a chance to demonstrate their strengths or talents through extracurricular activities, community involvement, academic grades, and more.

In addition, recent figures released by The Washington Post show that universities have registered a surge in international applications in the past two years, primarily because of test-blind admissions. Now, let us look at what colleges do not require SAT or ACT for the class of 2023.

What is a Test-Optional College?

As a thumb rule, SAT/ACT scores have always been a requirement of US colleges and universities. However, in the past few years, several colleges have decided to go test-free and do not require students to mandatorily submit their test scores. In circumstances where the student willingly submits the standardised scores, they readily accept it for evaluation. 

Colleges and universities that are test-optional have done away with the narrative of the importance of SAT./ACT scores. They consider them as an unnecessary component in admission decisions. So students who do not wish to take the test or have not scored satisfactorily can opt for test-optional colleges. Otherwise, if they send their low test scores, it may affect the admission decision negatively.

Several colleges have gone test-blind or test-flexible since the pandemic. They use traditional means to review applications. It is important to note that several new universities have also joined the league of universities accepting applications without SAT/ACT scores.

Get a FREE Profile Evaluation to Study in the US!

What US Colleges Do Not Require SAT or ACT for 2023-2024?

Let us now find out which US university does not require SAT or ACT in USA for bachelor's admissions in 2023-2024:


Annual Tuition Fees (in USD) Application Deadline for 2023
Harvard University 47,000 November 1 - December 1
Yale University 59,920 November 1
Princeton University 56,010 November 1

Arizona State University

10,710 Spring - September 25

DePaul University


Early Action - November 15

Regular Decision - February 1

American University


Fall -November 15 -January 15

Spring- October 1

University of Chicago


Spring Regular Decision - October 1

Fall Regular Decision - February 15

University of Kansas



Fall Semester Early Action - November 1


Suffolk University


FallEarly Action -November 15

Regular Decision - February 15

Spring -December 1

Louisiana State University


Fall - May 15

Spring- October 15

Wake Forest University


Early Decision - November 15

Regular Decision - January 1

New York University


Fall Regular Decision - February 15

Spring Regular Decision - September 15

University of Rochester


Early Decision - November 1,January 5

Regular Decision - January 5

Boston University


Early Decision - November 1

Regular Decision - January 4

Brandeis University


Early Decision I - November 1

Early Decision II- January 1

Fordham University


Early Action - November 1

Regular Decision - January 1

Case Western Reserve University


Regular Decision - January 15

Spring - December 1

George Washington University


Regular Decision - January 5

Spring - October 1

Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Early Decision - November 1- January 15

Regular Decision - February 15

Virginia Tech


Early Action - November 1

Regular Decision - January 15

Williams College

61,450 TBA

Swarthmore College


Fall Early Decision - November 15

Winter Early Decision - January 4

Regular Decision - January 4

Pomona College


Early Decision I - November 15

Early Decision II - January 8

Regular Decision - January 8

Bowdoin College


Early Decision I - November 15

Early Decision II - January 5

Regular Decision - January 5

Hamilton College


Early Decision I - November 15 - January 5

Regular Decision -January 5

Middlebury College

59,330 Fall Semester - May 15

Colby College


Early Decision - November 15 - January 1

Regular Decision - January 1

Davidson College


Early Decision- November 15 - January 6

Regular Decision - January 11

University of Massachusetts, Boston


Fall - July 1,Spring - November 1

Wesleyan University


Early Decision I - November 15 - January 1

Regular Decision- January 1

California State University


Winter - June 30

Spring - August 31

Carnegie Mellon University


Early Decision - November 1 -January 3

Regular Decision - January 3

Duke University


Early Decision - November 1

Regular Decision- January 4

George Mason University


Spring - October 1

Fall Early Action - November 1

Hofstra University


Early Action - November 15 -December 15

Oregon State University


Fall Early Action - November 1

Summer- June 20

Spring- February 28

Winter - December 6

Want to get enrolled in any of the aforementioned US universities? Learn SAT vs ACT: which one to take, here.

Or, register with us to take advantage of our study abroad packages and apply without an SAT or ACT Score to the top universities across the globe. We are here to help!

How are Test Optional Colleges Making Admission Decisions?

Contrary to popular belief, standardized test scores are the only criterion for admission to top universities in the US and other countries. There are several other factors that are considered while assessing an application for undergraduate admission.

For a test-optional college, ones application is looked at holistically and more emphasis is put on other criteria including high school transcripts, GPA, grade trend, curriculum and class rank (if applicable). Following that, an institution will consider a profile based on their personal statement, letters of recommendation, participation in extracurricular activities, demonstrated interest and more. Let us look at these in detail:

Statement of Purpose (SOP)

Whether one has the highest SAT scores, GPA, or SOP may be a deciding factor in their admission to their university of choice. What a good SOP does is convince the reader(s) or admissions committee that the applicant has solid achievements that will add value to their college and show promise in success in their undergraduate study.

Letter(s) of Recommendation

Recommendation letters are nothing but brief, formal statements that attempt to highlight an applicant's positive qualities and reasons why they would be a great fit for the college. Usually, LORs are written by high school teachers, seniors or previous employers.

Extracurricular Activities

Be it any involvement or participation outside the classroom, extracurricular activities do help in glorifying one's application. To learn how to read the importance of extracurricular activities in an international application.

Admission Essays

In case it is applicable to the university or college one is applying to, the admission essays help the admissions committee find something interesting about the candidate. They may have a better understanding of the candidates quick and experimental thinking along with proficiency.


An internship certificate can do a lot more than one can imagine. Although not many get the opportunity to find an internship during high school, in case they do, they should definitely add it to their profile.

So, while it is not much different than a traditional application review which considers standardised test scores, applicants will now have to pay equal attention to all the other aspects of the application and try to make it stand out.

Other Popular US Universities That Do Not Require ACT/SAT in 2023-24

Listed below are some popular US Universities that do not require ACT/SAT in 2023-24:

University Name Tuition Fees (in USD) Application Deadline for 2023

Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Early Decision - November 1 - January 15

Regular Decision- February 15

Boston University


Spring - November 1

University of California

11,442 November 30

Tulane University


Fall - August 1

Spring - January 1

Summer - May 1

University of Washington

51,808 September 1

Northeastern University


Early Decision - November 1,January 1

Regular Decision - January 1

Scripps College


Early Decision - November 15,January 5

Regular Decision - January 5

Texas Christian University


Early Decision - November 1,February 1

Regular Decision - February 1

Reed College


Early Action - November 15

Regular Decision - January 15

Paul Smith's College

20,000 August Semester - June 1

Pacific University Oregon


Early Action -November 1,January 15

Rolling Admissions -After January 15

Northern Illinois University

9790 per term

Fall - May 1

Spring - October 1

University of New England


Spring - December 1,Fall - November 15

Minerva Schools at KGI


Early Action - November 1

Regular Decision - January 17,March 15

Massachusetts College of Art & Design


Spring - October 15

Fall - February 15

Loyola University New Orleans


Fall Early Action- November 15

Fall Regular Decision- January 15

Spring - October 15

Hampshire College


Spring - November 1

Fall - November 15,January 1,January 15

Governors State University


Spring - January 2

Fall - November 15

Dickinson College


Early Decision - November 15,January 15

Regular Decision- January 15

Columbia College Chicago

13,305 Priority Deadline - November 15

Catholic University of America


Early Decision - November 1,January 15

Regular Decision - January 15

California Institute of Technology


Early Action - November 1

Regular Decision - January 3

Please note that universities, depending on the current updates, keep changing their requirements. To find out what colleges do not require SAT or ACT for the class of 2023, international students need to constantly check with the university.

Should I Send My ACT or SAT Scores to Test Optional Colleges?

It is totally up to the applicant. A lot of US universities have made a commitment that students submitting ACT/SAT scores will not have an edge over those with no SAT scores (one can find the same on the NACAC website). However, with MIT having reinstated ACT/SAT scores for 2022-23 admissions, other US colleges might follow suit. In addition, the Georgia Institute of Technology will also need to submit ACT/SAT scores.

It will entirely depend on one's academic profile and whether or not they think submitting standardised test scores would help them boost their US college application. In other words, sending standardised test scores may be a good idea if the applicant believes that the scores are good enough and will help them stand out from the crowd.

In case the application looks strong enough without the ACT/SAT scores, there is no need to send them. Also, the best way to go about it is to discuss it with ones college counsellor or the admissions staff and ask them what the ideal thing to do would be.

What Should Students do with Test-Optional List of Colleges?

As students are now aware of the list of US colleges that are test-optional, they can plan their strategies accordingly. They may feel confused about whether they should submit their test scores or not and whether it will massively admission decisions. We encourage submitting SAT/ACT test scores if students have received a good score. Alternatively, they should choose to submit their college applications without the test scores. Here are some tips that will guide you on how to go about with college applications in test-optional colleges in the US.

  • Check out the College Policies: Every school is unique in its admission procedure, so it is important to understand deeply the admission policies of the school. Check out if it is test-optional, test-flexible or test-blind. Do not hesitate to connect with the admission officers in case you do not get many details on the website.

  • Take the SAT/ACT Test for the Wider Options: The preference of colleges and courses keep changing from time to time. Therefore, it will not be wise to decide in advance whether you wish to take SAT/ACT test or not. To keep options open, take the test so that one can meet the requirements of the colleges which accept ACT/SAT scores. 

  • Do not Limit Applying to Colleges: If one is avoiding taking SAT, then they must not limit their applications. As the student will be spending the next four years in the school, they must choose the best for them. It is also important to have a few options in hand. 

  • Analyse the Application Carefully: As the college is ditching the standardised test requirement, one can expect that they will pay full attention to other aspects of the admission process. Therefore, consider making other parts of the application strong. 

If you wish to learn more about whether or not to send your scores to test-optional colleges, refer to the Pros and Cons of Standardised Testing, here.

Our experts can help you apply successfully to and study in various universities in the US, UK, Canada, and more. Write to them at abroad@collegedekho.com to get your queries resolved.

Find Out About Scholarships to Study in the US!


Is SAT/ACT waiver at US universities applicable to international students?

Yes, SAT/ACT waiver at US universities is applicable to international students as well. US universities had declared waiver for SAT and ACT scores in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which left students unable to take the tests. Test-optional US colleges and universities are allowing a greater opportunity for students to showcase their potential both in and out of the classroom.

Can I apply to US universities without ACT or SAT scores?

Yes, you can apply to US universities without ACT or SAT scores. Many US universities have decided to continue with the waiver on SAT or ACT scores in 2022 and 2023 as well. As an international student, you can apply to US universities that are waiving the standardised test scores. The admissions shall be approved on the basis of GPA, extracurricular activities and other achievements.

Can I apply to Ivy League schools without ACT or SAT scores?

Yes, you can apply to Ivy League schools without ACT or SAT scores. However, the selection is now more subjective and critical, as the selection panel has no quantitative support to assess the basic aptitude of the applicant. Ivy League schools like Yale and Princeton have decided to extend their test-optional policy for the 2022 and 2023 admissions while Harvard has announced that it would go test-optional through Fall 2026.

Which US universities are waiving ACT and SAT scores for 2022?

Around 1,500 US universities are waiving ACT and SAT scores for 2022-23 admissions. These universities include Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Arizona State University, University of Chicago, University of Kansas, NYU, University of Rochester, Case Western Reserve University, Swarthmore College, University of Massachusetts, Duke University, George Mason University, California State University, etc.

Are private US universities also accepting applications without ACT or SAT scores?

Yes, there are many private US universities that are also accepting applications without ACT or SAT scores. Private universities have comparatively higher tuition fees than public universities. However, they have a higher acceptance rate as well. Private universities in the US are well reputed for delivering quality education while maintaining curricula at par with global standards.

Why are universities still waiving ACT/SAT scores?

Many universities are still waiving ACT/SAT scores because of several reasons including the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The test-optional movement in the US started in 1969 when Bowdoin College went test-optional to focus on the human quality of students. Other colleges cite a lack of confidence in these exams’ ability to assess a candidate’s readiness while many have gone test-optional to improve campus diversity. 

Can I submit ACT or SAT scores to test-optional US colleges?

Yes, you can submit ACT or SAT scores to test-optional US colleges. The universities have gone test-optional, meaning they do not require the scores to make a final decision, and non-submission will not make students ineligible for admission. However, if the student has their scores and is confident about their performance, they can choose to submit their scores.

I have a good SAT score. Will applying to US universities with it benefit me?

If you have a good SAT score, applying it to US universities with it can benefit you. To have an advantage over other applicants, a good SAT score can make a significant difference in admission to a test-optional college. Additionally, a high SAT score will benefit you if the university has a low acceptance rate.

What is a good ACT/SAT score for test optional US universities?

A good ACT/SAT score for test optional US universities may vary from one university to the other. In general, test optional colleges do not have a good ACT or SAT scores. This is because they do not evaluate applications based on the scores obtained on the ACT or SAT. That said, an ACT or SAT score that is at least 15-20 points higher than the minimum eligibility for the university will offer a competitive advantage. 

You can share this post!

Admission Open 2024

Related Articles

Aug 18, 2023 04:28 PM IST

How to Apply for Masters in USA?

Aug 03, 2023 01:18 PM IST

Documents Required for TOEFL

Our Study Abroad Offerings

Related Institutes

Planning to study abroad?

Interested in Studying Overseas?

Connect with us and kickstart your learning journey for a rewarding experience!

By proceeding ahead you expressly agree to the CollegeDekhoAbroad Terms of Use & Privacy Policy.